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About Us

Recipient: Organizational Award Non-Profit

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WEDI’s vision is that all residents of Western New York can succeed and thrive in a culturally inclusive community.


WEDI strengthens communities through a continuum of educational and financial resources, removing systemic barriers to economic equity for all Western New Yorkers.

What We Do

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WEDI’s dual focus areas of Education and Economic Development work in tandem to tackle systemic inequities that affect Buffalo’s underserved residents, many of whom are people of color. By supporting youth to succeed in school and powering entrepreneurs to launch, sustain, and grow small businesses, WEDI is helping to create a more equitable Buffalo. 

WEDI's Education program supports Multilingual Language Learners (MLLs) to achieve literacy through four programs: ENERGY (elementary-aged students), FLY (middle schoolers), Launch (high schoolers), and Peer Support Groups.

WEDI's Economic Development program provides multi-faceted support to aspiring and early career entrepreneurs through two programs: Microloans and the West Side Bazaar (a small business incubator and community gathering space).


WEDI's programs and services are available to underserved residents of Western New York including elementary and middle school-aged MLLs in the 14213 zip code (ENERGY and FLY) and students at Lafayette International Community High School (Launch). Our Economic Development programs are available to economically-disadvantaged adults earning 80% or less of the AMI (Area Median Income).

Support WEDI businesses all over Western New York and Beyond!


WEDI (the Westminster Economic Development Initiative) was founded in 2006 by members of the Westminster Presbyterian Church to improve the quality of life for underserved residents of Buffalo’s West Side, which was increasingly populated by immigrants and refugees from Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The organization’s initial Education programming supported elementary-aged children to achieve literacy. This focus area eventually expanded to include grades 1-12 with additional programming focused on soft skills/social-emotional intelligence, enrichment activities, STEM, financial literacy, college preparation, and workforce/career development. In 2012, WEDI added a second focus area, Economic Development, to support underserved entrepreneurs to launch and sustain small businesses. In doing so, WEDI expanded its geographical reach to Buffalo’s East Side, which has a predominantly Black population. Today, WEDI runs six programs including the West Side Bazaar, a small business incubator offering delicious food and unique products from a diverse group of cultures and ethnicities.

WEDI is an ATHENA award recipient: organizational award non-profit 

Pictured L-R: Elizabeth Lovria, WEDI's Development Coordinator, Steve Zenger, WEDI's Board of Directors President, Carolynn Welch, WEDI's Executive Director, Nancy McNamara, Senior Manager Member Engagement at Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Erin Kelly, WEDI's Director of External Relations, and Laura Munson, WEDI's Capital Campaign Manager.

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